MILF slams pro-Misuari 'warmongers' spreading rumors
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - February 18, 2015 - 6:20pm

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front on Wednesday dismissed claims by followers of Nur Misuari it issued a "war advisory" calling on the Moro National Liberation Front to prepare for war if the government abandons the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Two non-Muslim followers of Misuari, Emmanuel Fontanilla and Absalom Cerveza, have been announcing since Tuesday to different media outfits in Metro Manila that MNLF leaders had received an official communiqué from the MILF urging them to be ready for war if the draft BBL is shelved due to the January 25 bloodshed in Mamasapano.

"It started as a text message spread by warmongers. It is not true that we have sent them such hostile advisories as they claim," Iqbal said.

Some local officials had branded as whimsical and preposterous the insinuations by Fontanilla, a lawyer, and Cerveza, a Christian preacher.

Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao told reporters he would be among the first to know if the MILF had indeed issued such advisory to Moro groups.

Hataman pointed out that he chairs the ARMM's inter-agency regional peace and order council, whose members include people from various civil society organizations, representatives of the political and religious communities in all five provinces under his jurisdiction.

"The membership of the council also includes provincial governors of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and the mayors of the cities of Lamitan and Marawi. That is absolutely untrue. That is nothing but fiction spread by warmongers. So whimsical indeed," Hataman said.

Hataman and Iqbal separately aired their views on the allegations of Fontanilla and Cerveza during a press conference on Wednesday at the officers' club of the Army's 6th Infantry Division at Camp Siongco in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

The press conference capped off the MILF's return of 16 firearms rebels took from the policemen killed in firefights in Barangays Tukanalipao, Pidsandawan and Inog-og in Mamasapano town in the second district of Maguindanao last January 25.

READ: MILF returns SAF weapons

Iqbal said he himself received a text message from an anonymous sender accusing their central committee of called on the MNLF to prepare for an all-out war.

Deliberations on the draft BBL by the 75-member congressional committee handling it had been suspended to pave the way for an inquiry into the Mamasapano incident.

"Ang masasabi ko dito, walang katotohanan 'yan. Trabaho 'yan ng mga walang magawa, yung mga warmongers. Masyadong mabilis yang mga warmongers. It's just pure and simple act of warmongers, and it has never been emanating from the MILF," Iqbal said, apparently referring to the assertions by Fontanilla and Cerveza.

Highly-placed Army intelligence sources said the text messages mentioning the MILF's war advisory to the MNLF first circulated on Monday in Isulan town and in Tacurong City, both in Sultan Kudarat province, and in Gen. Santos City and South Cotabato, where most members of the clans of Fontanilla and Cervesa resides.

In a statement Wednesday, the largest faction in the MNLF had said Fontanilla and Cerveza are both spreading unfounded and "preposterous" stories about the MILF.

Misuari is hostile to the MILF and is rabidly opposed to Malacañang's peace agreement with the rebel group, which splintered from the MNLF in the early 1980s.

Former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, chairman of the largest and most politically-active MNLF group, said there is no truth to the claims by Fontanilla and Cerveza.

READ: MNLF faction defends MILF from 'war' rumors

Misuari is now wanted for leading a bloody mutiny in Zamboanga City in September 2013 to dramatize his opposition to the ongoing government-MILF peace process.

BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW BARANGAYS TUKANALIPAO FONTANILLA AND CERVEZA IQBAL MAGUINDANAO MAMASAPANO MILF MISUARI MNLF
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